It’s a well-known trope that after the Gulf, Malayalis have flocked in bunches to Bangalore. Though a lot of Malayali restaurants and eateries have opened up, there is a name that has become a Malayalis’ second home. Jose Mess, located in SG Palya, near Christ University, is more than a mess to most. Run by Jose Chettan and his family, who hail from Angamaly, they are always present at the register. If you happen to visit in the evening, you can see Chechi managing the restaurant.
The mess is most famous for its Kerala meals, which cost 90 rupees and come with two side dishes, sambhar, pickle and pappadam. The lukewarm chukka/karingaali vellam (herbed water) from the steel glass quenches a thirst you didn’t know existed. Students from around the area flood the mess during the afternoon rush hour, which makes it impossible to get a seat. Alongside the Kerala meals, everyone drools for the most sought-after dish, Pothu fry or Pothu roast. It costs 130 rupees and is considered a match made in heaven. Another option is the fish fry (depending on the availability of the fish), which costs around 100 rupees*. The aroma wafts through the restaurant, and your mouth starts watering as you climb up the stairs. The waiting area outside the restaurant is mostly crowded, with people waiting to get into the restaurant. Jose Mess can seat about 50 people at once. The Chicken Biriyani is one of the top-selling dishes. Costing 140 rupees, it comes with a boiled egg as well. The masala and the type of rice used give one an authentic taste of Kerala.
The restaurant has a comfortable ambience which reminds one of home. The staff are friendly and understand Malayalam and Hindi. The food is affordable and is a true treat to your tastebuds. Students can opt for a mess card at a cost of 3800 rupees, which includes lunch and dinner from the mess three times a week, along with non-vegetarian specials. When one compares the quantity and quality of food, the mess card can be a lifesaver for those living on a tight budget. The mess has been around for about a decade now. The hygiene of the place is also immaculate, which is a major factor considering the use of steel plates and glasses, yes, just like the one at home.
Mornings are famous for the appam, idiyappam and puttu. A steaming plate of puttu kadla or idiyappam kurma is the best way to start your day. The breakfast items are available till 11:30, post which lunch time begins. The afternoon rush then slowly dies down to a peaceful, calm evening where the warm lights invite people for a refreshing cup of Kerala chaaya or kaapi. Evening times remind us of a “chaaya kada” where ammavans, students, and working adults gather for a cup of tea and “pazhampori”. The evening snacks are available from 4 PM to 6 PM every day. Although some people may provide conflicting reviews, Jose Mess continues to remain a place where you can embrace your Malayali identity.
*Prices are subject to change
Location: 18, Vignan Arcade, 1st Main, 1st Cross, DRC Post, S.G. Palya, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560029